Answers to your questions about COVID-19

At times you may feel stressed, anxious, have trouble sleeping, or feel afraid. Seek the support of family, friends, clergy, and health professionals. And if you find your anxiety becoming overwhelming, don’t hesitate to contact someone you trust for help. No one of us has to go through alone.

I’ve been posting about COVID-19 regularly on Facebook and Instagram and I hope you’ve been following. If so, this post will be a re-cap; if not, I hope you learn something. Most of this information comes from the CDC, Centers for Control and Prevention, and some from state, local, and private health agencies.

what are the symptoms of covid-19?

symptoms of COVID-19-fever, cough, shortness of breath
COVID19_SYMPTOMS

how can i keep myself and my family from being infected with covid-19?

avoid contact with sick people, do not touch your eyes, nose, mouth; wash hand often
Until we have a vaccine, the single most important prevention is frequent hand washing.

how is covid-19 different from colds, flu, and allergies?

covid-19 vs other respiratory illnesses

What else can we do to stay safe from covid-19?

should we be afraid of covid-19?

MANAGE ANXIETY-DON'T BE AFRAID-BE SMART
managing covid-19 anxiety

exploring the HEART of health by understanding COVID-19

Thanks for reviewing this outline of this new disease that we are all learning about and that has changed our lives so drastically. I appreciate the CDC and other sources for making these easy to understand graphics available.

COVID-19 is a new, serious, contagious health risk that concerns the medical community as well as government, schools, business, religious groups, charities, and private citizens. These communities have banded together quickly to develop plans to manage this threat effectively.

Just like other challenges we face, it can be daunting and sometimes scary; but sometimes that’s when we accomplish the greatest good in the long run.

At times you may feel stressed, anxious, have trouble sleeping, or feel afraid. Seek the support of family, friends, clergy, and health professionals.

And if you find your anxiety becoming overwhelming, don’t hesitate to contact someone you trust for help. No one of us has to go through alone.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Donate to COVID-19 Pandemic Response | World Vision Canada World Vision – Gift Catalogue. Give a gift that will make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and their communities. Shop now.
2 bandaids crossed on a world globe
photo from the Lightstock collection (affiliate link)

What doctors want you to know about COVID-19

it is recommended that people stay at home as much as possible, going out only for critical needs like groceries and medicines, or to exercise and enjoy the outdoors in wide open spaces.

In this post I’m sharing some of what I’ve been reading about the COVID-19 epidemic. These experienced, knowledgeable, compassionate physicians share insights to help colleagues as well as patients. I thank them for taking the time to share in the midst of this crisis.

a perspective from China

Since 2016, Laura Jordhen, M.D. has been practicing in Shanghai’s United Family Xincheng Hospital and was chair of infection control for the hospital before becoming chief of its family medicine department in December. In an interview for the AAFP she said,

“(In China now) Things are slowly getting back to normal. Our ear, nose and throat clinic is reopening. Dental is reopening. The number of new confirmed cases is low.

People in Wuhan are still basically isolated in their homes, but throughout the rest of China schools are starting to open up. With still a few cases reported every several days in Shanghai, schools have still not reopened. It’s still very strict social isolation.

Massage, hair cut — any kind of business that involved physical contact or having people close together — was shut down around Chinese New Year, which started Jan 25.”

Read more of Dr. Jordhen’s insights on China’s handling of COVID-19 at

U.S. FP Shares COVID-19 Insights From Practice in China

an electron microscope image of the coronavirus
used with permission, CDC.GOV

from the National Institutes of Health

On the NIH Director’s blog, Dr. Francis Collins explains social distancing.

“What exactly does social distancing mean?

Well, for starters, it is recommended that people stay at home as much as possible, going out only for critical needs like groceries and medicines, or to exercise and enjoy the outdoors in wide open spaces.

Other recommendations include avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, no handshakes, regular handwashing, and, when encountering someone outside of your immediate household, trying to remain at least 6 feet apart.

These may sound like extreme measures. But the new study by NIH-funded researchers, published in the journal Science, documents why social distancing may be our best hope to slow the spread of COVID-19. ” Read more at

To Beat COVID-19, Social Distancing is a Must

Practice Social Distancing.
provided as a service from the University of Oklahoma Medical Center

In A nine-step plan to deal with COVID-19 stress, psychiatrist Dr. Gerard Clancy offers this advice.

“7. Can-do list. Under the current guidelines there are many things we can’t do. With activities out in the community curtailed, this can leave down time. This has allowed us to create a list of what we can do.

This has included reading books, reorganizing the house and watching classic and new movies. It has also included my own version of Master Chef, where I need to cook dinner with what we have left in the pantry. It has been a challenge but also fun.”

Family of 4 sitting at a dining table.
I’ve heard some families say this is allowing them to eat dinner together more than usual.

Why Doctors and Nurses are Anxious and Angry

“Every single day for the past six months, I have recommended the flu shot for my patients, and every day a good chunk decline. When I ask why, most can’t articulate an answer. They offer only an inchoate distaste for vaccines, fomented by the oddly contagious anti-vaccine movement.

I remind them that their grandparents would have given their eyeteeth for the vaccines they blithely shrug off. I point out the entirely unnecessary resurgence of measles resulting from a falloff in vaccination rates.”

Dr. Danielle Ofri, a doctor at Bellevue Hospital and a clinical professor of medicine at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, is the author of “What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear” and the forthcoming “When We Do Harm: A Doctor Confronts Medical Error.

Review your family’s vaccination status at this previous post about vaccine preventable diseases.

exploring the HEART of COVID-19

I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences dealing with the challenges this disease outbreak brings into your life. What have you found helps you to survive and thrive though this? How will this change your life, good or bad? Share here or find me on social media.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

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CDC-Coronavirus Disease 2019

Should your family receive vaccinations? YES

This coronavirus pandemic is serious. We don’t yet have a vaccine or effective treatments. To protect ourselves, our familes, and our entire communities we should all be practicing social distancing until advised otherwise. Please review these guidelines to prevent spead of this disease.

2020 vaccination recommendations from the CDC

These charts show 2019 guidelines but there were not major changes for 2020.

There is a related and updated version of this post at this link

Vital questions about vaccinations

With a few exceptions for medical reasons I believe all adults should discuss vaccination with their physician and be immunized for any diseases for which they are at risk.

And I recommend that parents do the same for their children and adolescents.

RECOMMENDED ADULT IMMUNIZATIONS 2019
RECOMMENDED CHILD AND ADOLESCENT IMMUNIZATIONS 2019

questions to ask about vaccines and the immunization process include.

  • What contagious diseases is a person likely to be exposed to?
  • What are the risks of those diseases?
  • What are the risks of a particular vaccine for that person?
  • What are the risks versus benefits to other people?
  • What else can we do to prevent an infection?

Infectious disease control methods

The  developed countries  have eliminated or controlled many of the environmental sources of contagious disease by manipulating our environment.

  • indoor plumbing
  • water treatment facilities
  • screens on windows
  • air purification
  • wear gloves to prepare food
  • inspect restaurants
  • signs in public restrooms reminding us to wash our hands.
Hand hygiene saves lives.
Hygiene remains vital to infection prevention even when immunizations are given.

However, we haven’t eliminated another source of infectious disease- other humans.

Rarely do we isolate or quarantine people with infections. Most of us have gone to work, school or social events with symptoms suggestive of infection- a cough, runny nose, upset stomach- putting our friends and colleagues at risk.

This coronavirus pandemic is serious. We don’t yet have a vaccine or effective treatments. To protect ourselves, our familes, and our entire communities we should all be practicing social distancing until advised otherwise. Please review these guidelines to prevent spead of this disease.

15 DAYS TO SLOW THE SPREAD

RESOURCES FOR understanding COVID-19

an electron microscope image of the coronavirus
used with permission, CDC.GOV

Tips from your Family Doctor

CDC-Coronavirus Disease 2019

exploring and sharing the HEART of health

Thanks for reading and sharing this important information about protecting the HEART of health.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

Dr.  Aletha 

Here are some affiliate links you may find helpful. Thanks for considering and using, which helps me fund this blog’s mission-to share the HEART of health.

This post contains affiliate links which, by paying a commission if used for a purchase, help me fund this blog and share the HEART of health around the world.

These may be good options as long as we need to stay in our homes.

a way to exercise at home

a way to get medical supplies delivered

a source for food if you don’t have local delivery

Spring/Summer Banners

homeschool resources

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6 things you need to know to get through the flu season-update

When I first published this post, I didn’t know these same basic recommendations would also be helpful to fight a new and possibly deadlier infectious disease-COVID-19, caused by a different respiratory virus, the Coronavirus, which has spread all over the world beginning in December 2019 and now into the spring of 2020.

Influenza vs Coronavirus

When I first published this post, I didn’t know these same basic recommendations would also be helpful to fight a new and possibly deadlier infectious disease-COVID-19, caused by a different respiratory virus, the Coronavirus, which has spread all over the world beginning in December 2019 and now into the spring of 2020.

At this time, most of these points also seem to apply to COVID-19, except unfortunately, number 3; there is no vaccine and probably won’t be for many more months.

1. If you think you have the “flu”, you probably don’t.

To many people “the flu” is any respiratory illness characterized by  fever, cough, congestion, fatigue and aches. That term has become so nonspecific even we doctors use it that way. But flu should refer  to influenza,  one of many viruses that cause respiratory illness.

The other viral respiratory illnesses  are

  • rhinosinusitis, aka “colds”, upper respiratory infections-URIs,
  • bronchitis,
  • pharyngitis,
  • pneumonia.
The human respiratory system
The respiratory tract including the nose, sinuses, mouth, throat, trachea, bronchi in blue and the lungs (pink). Infections can involve the breathing organs from the nose all the way down to the lungs. (photo complimentary from Pixabay

2. If your doctor thinks you have “the flu”, you probably do.

Prior to the  “rapid flu” test, we doctors diagnosed influenza by the characteristic symptoms,  exam, and knowing there was an outbreak in the community. The test is helpful for confirmation but not 100 % accurate, and likely the Coronvirus test is not either.

3. The best way to prevent influenza is by vaccination.

The World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) ,the National Foundation for Infectious Disease and  other reputable medical organizations recommend vaccination against influenza.

People refuse vaccination because they believe it is ineffective, unnecessary, dangerous, toxic, unnatural, subversive, and who knows what else.  I don’t think I or anyone else are going to change their minds.

My family and I always get vaccinations which have successfully protected us without side effects or adverse reactions. There are risks, just like there are with any medical procedure, or lots of other things we do in life. In this case we have decided the benefit outweighs the risk.

If you don’t want a “flu shot”, just say no. Your doctor doesn’t need or want to hear a speech; we’ve already heard them all.

4. Stay away from others if you are sick.

It’s not a coincidence that influenza outbreaks coincide with the American holiday season (approximately November through January). So to protect us all,

  • Stay home if you are sick, and ask your family, co-workers and employees to do the same.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing; use your sleeve, not your hand.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash your hands frequently, thoroughly, and long enough.
  • Wash frequently touched surfaces with disinfectant.
Hand hygiene saves lives.
a common sight now in public restrooms

5. If you do get sick, don’t ask your doctor for an antibiotic. It will not help. 

Antibiotics attack bacteria. Influenza and 99% of all respiratory illnesses are due to viruses.

There are antiviral drugs that will “shorten the duration and severity of symptoms” by 1-2 days, if started early. The effectiveness is uncertain for an illness that will resolve within 10-14 days regardless. But if it gets you back to school or work a day earlier, it may be worth the cost-they are not cheap drugs.

Otherwise, the treatment is“symptomatic” or “supportive” care:

  • Rest; eat and drink as normally as possible; extra fluids if running a fever 
  • Non-prescription cough/congestion /pain/fever meds

Acetaminophen for aches and fever

Lozenges for sore throat, cough, and congestion

Breathing moist air with the use of a humidifier  helps with cough and congestion

(the previous are affiliate links. )

6. You can die from influenza, but you probably won’t.

People die from complications of influenza, and infants, young children and the elderly have greatest risk.The most common fatal complication is bacterial pneumonia, infection in the lung. Influenza can also attack the nervous system causing brain inflammation (encephalitis and/or meningitis) and paralysis in the form of Guillain Barre syndrome .

an xray of healthy lungs with no signs of pneumonia.
Healthy lungs with no signs of pneumonia.

Persons with chronic illnesses like diabetes, lung disorders, depressed immune systems and cancer are at greater risk of complications and should always consult a physician if feeling ill. If you are not sure if you fall into that category, ask your doctor.

what you really need to know

We should all take influenza and COVID-19 seriously; consider my suggestions, talk to your personal doctor, keep up with recommendations from your local public health professionals, and do your part to keep your family and community well.

Here are some previous posts about infections .

Get Smart About Antibiotics

“Most common infections, such as colds, flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections, are caused by viruses and do not respond to antibiotic treatment. “

6 smart facts about antibiotics

“You may think of antibiotics as safe, harmless drugs with no potential for serious effects.  Usually antibiotics are well tolerated and safe. But serious side effects are possible, though infrequent.”

Sorting out sinusitis

“If you have a bacterial sinus infection with more than mild symptoms, an antibiotic may relieve symptoms and help you recover sooner. “

exploring the HEART of health

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

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5 spring health risks you need to prepare for now

With more hours of sunlight and warmer weather you may spend more time outdoors.While that may mean greater fitness from the physical activity, you will be at risk of several outdoor injuries. Be proactive and prevent warm weather ailments with these tips.

Remember it’s Spring forward to Daylight Savings Time

Most of the United States will change to Daylight Savings Time on Sunday March 8, 2020.

So you will either be going to bed an hour later than usual, or awakening an hour earlier.

sleep

Either way, your body will tell the difference until your sleep cycle adjusts; I know mine always does.  WebMD offers these tips to make the change easier.

If getting a good night’s sleep is a persistent problem for you, check out the information I shared in this post.

Expert advice to sleep well every night

 

Memory Foam Launch 250x250 Natural Bedding

We welcome the  first day of Spring, March 20,  in the northern hemisphere, with the occurrence of the vernal equinox.

This link to The Weather Channel explains what the vernal equinox means.

graphic of the earth explaining equinox and solstice
original source not known

 

With more hours of sunlight and warmer weather you may spend more time outdoors.While that may mean greater fitness from the physical activity, you will be at risk of several outdoor injuries. Be proactive and prevent warm weather ailments with these tips.

insect bites and stings

Protect yourself against mosquitoes and other insects.

5 insect repellents to keep you safe this summer

 

 

sun exposure

Protect your skin with  sunscreen while you’re outside.

(These are affiliate links placed here for your convenience. This blog can earn a commission from sales from these links. This does not imply endorsement of these products.)

 

blisters and other wounds

Protecting your feet.

Whether walking, jogging,  gardening, or sports, our feet can take a beating from outdoor activity.

You probably don’t worry much about blisters- until you get one. Then the pain can inhibit walking, or even  wearing a shoe.

At worst, blisters can become chronic wounds, get infected, and threaten limbs in susceptible persons like those with diabetes or poor blood flow.

Ways to prevent blisters include-

  • Proper fitting shoes, not too tight or too loose
  • Breaking shoes in before activity likely to cause a blister, like running, dancing, long walks, sports
  • Wearing absorbent cushioned socks, perhaps 2 pair together
  • Applying protective padding over pressure points on the feet. Even plain paper tape can accomplish this, according to this study published in the New York Times.

 

 

I own and wear several pairs of Skechers sports shoes. (affiliate link)

 

environmental allergies

What to do about seasonal allergies

Often called “hay fever”, allergic rhinitis doesn’t cause a fever but it can make us miserable with its characteristic symptoms-

  • runny nose, sneezing, congestion
diagram of the nose and sinuses
Allergies commonly affect the nose, throat, sinuses, ears, and eyes.
  • scratchy, itchy, or tickly throat
  • cough
  • ear itching and pressure
  • watery, itchy, red eyes
  • Even those  people who have these symptoms year round may have seasonal exacerbations, usually spring and fall.

    Here is information about allergy management from the American College of Allergy to discuss with your doctor.

    Seasonal Allergies

    exploring the HEART of health this spring

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                                  Dr. Aletha 

     

    5 spring health risks you need to prepare for now- watercresswords.com

    Driving Miss Norma- why saying yes to life matters

    When faced with death, Norma chose living. And in doing so, she and her family learned what really matters at the end. Through this book, they share what they learned with us.

    a review of Driving Miss Norma

    By Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle

    When I first reviewed this book the tag line was

    One Family’s Journey Saying “Yes” to Living

    the most recent edition now calls it

    An Inspirational Story About What Really Matters at the End of Life

    And it’s both of those. When faced with death, Norma chose living. And in doing so, she and her family learned what really matters at the end. Through this book, they share what they learned with us.

    (This post contains affiliate links.)

    I first learned about Norma Bauerschmidt on Facebook when a friend shared a video about her. She was a 90 year old woman who decided to spend the last months of her life “on the road” travelling with her son in a motorhome. She was diagnosed with cancer but decided to forgo treatment so she could enjoy her remaining time.

    I didn’t learn more about her until I saw this book.  I decided to read it, expecting a feel good entertaining read. The story turned out to be far more complex than the little I knew.

    Driving Miss Norma tells the story of Norma Bauerschmidt, a WWII WAVE veteran, wife, and mother. She was still in good health at 90 years of age, until she was diagnosed with cancer.

    Her doctor recommended surgery to be followed by chemotherapy, and warned her the treatment and recovery would be long and difficult. She told him no, she would rather “hit the road” with her son and daughter-in-law and enjoy her life, seeing and doing things she had not had a chance to do before. And her doctor agreed, saying that is just what he would do.

    Tim, her son, and Ramie, his wife, had already been living a nomadic life, travelling the country with their standard poodle Ringo in an Airstream travel  trailer they parked in campgrounds and  Walmart parking lots. They enjoyed travelling, seeing new places, meeting new people. They wondered how adding a 90 year old woman to their wandering lifestyle would work.

    By the time they completed arrangements for Norma to join them, she was already frail, and as her illness progressed she needed even more attention and care. Tim and Ramie soon realized that this might be more difficult and complex than they imagined.

    In the book, co-written by Tim and Ramie, they tell their stories also; the mid-life challenge of caring for aging parents, making end of life decisions and plans, and coping with parents’ death and  their subsequent grief. Having chosen not to have children, the role of caregivers was foreign to them, and one they had to painstakingly embrace and navigate.

    By coincidence, Ramie had recently read the book Being Mortal  “a critical examination of end-of-life medical care.” Until then she had not thought much about the subject. But when she finished the book

    “I knew my life had changed. The way I looked at the end of life had been flipped upside down and backward. I knew now it was time to have those tough conversations.”

    (I reviewed this book at this link)

    As they travelled, Ramie began writing about their adventures and posting on Facebook to close friends and family. She thought that other people might also be interested so she started a Page, Driving Miss Norma. They attracted a handful of followers initially, as she expected.

    up close look at a hot air balloon
    Norma went on her first and only hot air balloon ride (complimentary stock photo from Pixabay)

    But after Norma’s story was reported on the Good News Network, followed by a CBS Evening News Story , the Page began adding  followers by the thousands.

    The were alarmed, even fearful, of what they perceived as an intrusion on their privacy. Until now, they had deliberately avoided media in their isolated lifestyle. Then they began noticing how Norma’s story was resonating with people in a way they had not expected.

    “We had suddenly and dramatically found ourselves in the middle of an international conversation about the meaning of life, illness, dying and love. We were learning on the fly how to open ourselves to holding so much raw emotion.”

    Her story opened their lives to new people and situations they never imagined would happen. Rather than being a burden, Norma’s growing fame became the vehicle for them to grow closer to her, each other, and a whole new set of friends all over the country and the world.

    “We had the support of people all over the world and that was breathing new energy into our days. Here were so many people pouring out their deepest fears, losses, and desires to us. They told us of their caregiving struggles. They shared with us their innermost desires- to make peace with their recently deceased father, to tell someone “I love you.”

    Throughout the story Tim and Ramie share about the places Norma visited (see map), people she met, from the common to famous, the foods she tried, sometimes for the first time, and activities she tried, also many for the first time, like riding a horse. They and the new friends they made shared food, fun, love, and laughter.

    map of the United States
    Norma visited all the sites marked on this map

    But they also touch on the serious issues we all deal with sooner or later- aging, frailty, complex illness, terminal illness, end of life decisions, palliative care, death, and grief. They learned some important lessons about human relationships which they illustrate beautifully in their transparent writing.

    “We learned how to greet people with open minds and open hearts…the lines that separate people into different boxes-religion and politics and race and age-blurred and faded and eventually disappeared. We got to see the truth in people, including in Norma: her glow, her tenacity, her joy, and her confidence.”

    Tim and Ramie wrote the book after Norma’s death. They each took turns writing different chapters, and Ramie took all the photographs that illustrate it. But in a way Norma herself wrote the book, since it was the way she faced the final months of her life that produced the lessons her family learned and share with us in this book.

    Norma kept a journal during their travels and after she died Tim and Ramie, with close friends, read it, and were somewhat surprised at what she wrote. Or rather, what she didn’t write.

    “She did not write about cancer or fame- the two big themes of the trip for us. She did not write about the fear of dying or illness at all. Instead, she talked about life, living, and the things that brought her happiness:a sturdy wheelchair, mama and baby goats, a good hair perm, and her trusty sidekick Ringo.”

    I feel sad that Norma’s trip did not bring her though my town so I could have met her. But there will be “Normas” in my life that I will meet, and perhaps someday I will be a Norma myself. When that happens I hope I remember the lessons this book teaches.

    “Joy begets joy, love begets love, peace begets peace.”

    Continue to follow Norma’s family at the web site Driving Miss Norma

    sharing the HEART of living well

    I hope you enjoyed this look at Norma’s book and will share this post on the social sites you meet up with friends. Please check out some of my other book reviews. Links are in the menu on the side bar (may be below if on a phone or tablet).Or just search.

    I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

    I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                                  Dr. Aletha 

    Why you should get ready to die while you live -a book review

    “The reason obituaries are so dull to read is that they are so dull to write and that’s precisely why I’m writing my own: To save my family the drudgery in an otherwise stressful time.”

    Besides attending church on Sundays, I routinely read the local Sunday newspaper. I never miss the comics, Ask Amy advice column, restaurant reviews, and the obituaries. Sometimes I find an obit of someone I know or know of. But even if I don’t, I usually read one or two.

    Sometimes the person’s life is so remarkable I’m surprised I’d never heard of them. Sometimes it’s so intriguing I wish I had known them. That is the case with a recent one, particularly because it was written by the deceased man himself.

    I’m sharing this obituary with you with names deleted to protect privacy and some sections paraphrased. I think you will agree this is a man worth knowing.

    David B.

    “The reason obituaries are so dull to read is that they are so dull to write and that’s precisely why I’m writing my own: To save my family the drudgery in an otherwise stressful time. Following the standard format of obits I’ll start with I was born in 1948. I enjoyed being an only child until my two sisters came along. After that I learned to be an only child with two sisters.

    I have to stop here and mention that when my kidneys failed in my forties, my youngest sister unselfishly agreed to transplant one of hers. When it came time much later for another transplant my older sister conveniently developed cancer rendering her ineligible. Fortunately our son jumped at the chance and eagerly agreed to step up for which I was profoundly grateful.”

    After high school he “moved on to blast my way through a five year architectural degree in only seven years.” He co-founded an architectural firm which grew into one of the ten largest firms in the U.S. for several years.

    “I’m kind of proud of that.”

    Following retirement he served as Vice-President of the national board of the American Kidney Fund as well as President of the local chapter. He was President of the state chapter of an architects institute and served on the boards of local arts commissions.

    “There is some other stuff but these are the highlights.”

    He admitted that the best thing he did was marrying his wife.

    “I loved her dearly. She was my lover, partner, confidant and best friend. If not for her, I would have been writing this many years earlier.”

    Together they had two wonderful daughters. One is a physcian and the other “spends most of her time helping keep women out of prison”. About his son he pined , “He has yet to have any kids which is regrettable because the gene pool would be greatly improved by his contribution.”

    “I guess all that’s left is to say goodbye to the many friends I’ve made over the last seven decades. I’ve kept up with some but lost track of many. Suffice to say that if I wasn’t dead, I’d miss them all.”

    Not surprisingly, he requested that in lieu of flowers friends consider donations to two local non-profits-a soup kitchen/food bank and an organization that helps children of incarcerated parents.

    assemble a "when I die" file
    a screenshot from the book

    How to prepare for the end

    I suspect that David prepared for death in other ways besides writing his obituary. He probably wrote a will, arranged burial or cremation, and closed his social media accounts. He likely had a living will or health care proxy. He sounds like a man who navigated his life well and managed his death equally well.

    Planning for death seems straight forward but there are numerous details that most of us will miss without help. That’s why I reviewed and recommend a book that walks us through the process.

    The book consists of 5 sections that mimic the progression from life to illness to death. Even as a physician, I was surprised at the claim that only 10% to 20% of us will die without warning. The rest of us will know we have something that will likely take our life. And even if we don’t, we all know we will die eventually, although we tend to think and act as if it’s a well kept secret, and maybe it is. The sections are

    • PLANNING AHEAD
    • DEALING WITH ILLNESS
    • HELP ALONG THE WAY
    • WHEN DEATH IS CLOSE
    • AFTER
    Hazards of caregiving

    Chapter titles offer discussion about issues such as

    • Yes, There’s Paperwork.
    • Can I Afford to Die?
    • I’m Sick
    • Love, Sex, and Relationships
    • Hospital Hacks
    • Care for the Caregiver
    • It’s Your Body and Your Funeral
    • Grief
    • How to write a Eulogy and an Obituary
    • Celebrating a Life
    REmember me-collections and keepsakes
    I think David’s family has many precious memories of his life.

    We should all read this book

    As much as I hope you don’t need it right now, unfortunately you do need it right now. So whatever stage of living, or dying, you or a loved one may be in, you will find something helpful here.

    Follow this book’s authors on Facebook

    Find the book at your local library like I did, or get it from one of these book sellers; this would be a good book to keep on hand. (These affiliate links pay a commission to support this blog, while you pay nothing extra.)

    Bestsellers at eBooks.com! Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

    exploring the HEART of life and death

    I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

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                                  Dr. Aletha